In her speech on Tuesday 17th, Theresa May said that it would not be possible for the UK to remain in the European single market because it would mean “not leaving the EU at all”.
Instead of focusing on the potential financial ramifications to trade, Mrs May promised to push for the “freest possible trade” with countries in Europe. She also warned that if the EU attempted to “punish” the UK for its decision, it would be an act of “calamitous self-harm”.
During her speech, the Prime minister also took the opportunity to confirm that Parliament would ultimately vote on the final dead that is agreed. Although there have been suggestions that May choose to bypass the results of the vote and push through with Brexit.
While many in the Labour camp warned of the “enormous dangers” in the PMs plans, Labour’s Shadow Brexit Minister, Keir Starmer was more pragmatic. Speaking to the Guardian’s politics weekly podcast, he said he believed that: “Some of the demands that labour and the trade unions have been making were at least there in the objectives.” Continuing Mr Starmer conceded that with Freedom of Movement, the rules have to change.
He did however warn that some of her plans could open Britain up to being some sort of: “Bargain basement offshore tax haven economy, which would be a disaster for this economy.”
The European Parliament’s lead negotiator however dismissed the plans, claiming that Britain could not ‘cherry-pick’ the best bits of the EU.
The negotiations are planned to commence after the notice under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treat is served. This is due to be enacted at the end of March.
The Prime Minister finished her speech with a warning shot at the EU, warning that if the negotiations are punitive, then “no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain.”
May’s speech was met with much joy from the right-wing party UKIP, especially by their only MP, Douglas Carswell and former leader Nigel Farage.
While Labour have supported the ‘will of the people’, Tim Farron’s Liberal Democrats are still resisting the result of the referendum, and have suggested that they will vote against any plan to take the UK out of the European Union.